You know when someone gives you something that just ‘hits the spot’? Perhaps the thing fulfilled a craving you hadn’t anticipated. Cured an ache you hadn’t known was there. I had that yesterday. At my desk, curled up in my coat despite it being nearly 70 outside, coughing a dry cough allergy season likes to muster up, someone placed a box of noodles next to me. It’s called ‘Pancit’, a Fillipino noodle dish to be exact. Cabbage and pepper, glass and egg noodles all curled up together with some tender chicken. What really brought it to the next level was the lemon slices which I squeezed over the noodles to gives the dish a nice, brightly sour bite. It enlivened me. I love cooking, but I love even more the joys of learning about foods and cultures through experience and sharing.

And, naturally, it brought me back to that area of the world that knows their noodles best. Some eye candy:

Our last day in Thailand was perfectly spent strolling along Patong Beach then stopping at a very sleek Thai restaurant across the street. With all the doors and windows entirely open onto the street we watched as people passed and dined on some SPICY Pad Thai.

While delicious and memorable because of the pretty egg netting and it was our last day in Phuket, the best Pad Thai we ate on this trip was in Bangkok. Tired and hungry from a morning of sightseeing, our guide Kanokwan (Nok) generously arranged for the entire tour group to be served at her family’s restaurant. On the way there she told us of her aunt’s humble start and how the restaurant has gained success that they have expanded to more locations. Her family’s restaurant even caters to the Royal Palace, churning out hundreds of orders of Pad Thai. Once there, we were happily greeted and escorted upstairs to small tables. The noodles, the array of condiments, the pride and eagerness within Nok to share her food; THAT trumps any expensive meal I have had. The experience was all so memorable. I wish I could say I shamelessly ate everything on my plate, but there was a touch of shame at how quickly I devoured every bite of that delicious Pad Thai and Green Papaya Salad.

Nok’s Aunt’s Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand

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